The Personal Side of a Research Student

Bridging the gap between devoted researcher and college student is a senior fisheries management and biology major Samuel Hempel, who is heavily involved in the activities he cherishes.

Many may imagine a research student as a stereotypical “nerd” or the overachieving “teacher’s pet,” but Hempel is far from that notion.

When asked how he spends his free time, Hempel said, “Anything outdoors. I just really like to be outside.”

The Atlantic Salmon from Sam's research project.  Photo courtesy of Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility.

The Atlantic Salmon from Sam’s research project. Photo courtesy of Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility.

Hempel is an avid outdoorsman, and has hunted for almost 10 years, but has fished even longer.

To feed his admiration of the outdoors, he is a member of the Fly Fishing Club and the Rugby Team. He strikes a balance by managing time for weekend-long fishing trips and fall Rugby games while finding time to conduct research.

Originally, Hempel researched chemistry with Professor Mike Zach. Currently, Hempel works on a fisheries research project with Professor Chris Hartleb.

Over the summer, Hempel spent time in Bayfield, Wis. at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point ran Northern Agriculture Demonstration Facility. The NADF is a research building dedicated to improving fisheries and fish farming techniques.

Hempel’s project focused on comparing outdoor pond walleye with indoor formula fed walleye once they were both transferred to minnow feed.

Hempel’s work ethic paid off. Hartleb said the NADF manager appreciated Hempel’s work so much that Hartleb received a call asking when he was graduating to offer him a job.

“He’s been great,” Hartleb said. “We look for students who are responsible and eager to learn. Sam fits the bill perfectly.”

Hartleb also expressed that fellow  students who worked in the lab enjoy having Hempel around.

When Hempel graduates this spring, he wants to attend graduate school at Michigan State University.

Upon first glance, Hempel seems like a typical UWSP student. He loves the outdoors, and gets involved in his school. However, under the surface, he is a hard-working, dedicated scientist who has a positive impact whenever he is in lab.

Harley Fredriksen

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